Blocks and Beyond 2
2nd Workshop on Lessons and Directions for First Programming Environments
A VL/HCC 2017 workshop in Raleigh, NC, USA, Oct. 9-10, 2017
The sequel to the 1st Blocks and Beyond Workshop (Oct, 2015)
Important Dates
19 Jul 2017: Submissions Abstracts due
(due by end of day, anytime on Earth)

Due to several requests, we are extending the paper submission deadline (for both position statements and full papers) by one week. But an abstract for either kind of paper must still be submitted by 19 Jul so that we can assign papers to reviewers.
26 Jul 2017: Paper submissions due
(due by end of day, anytime on Earth)
16 Aug 2017: Author notification
30 Aug 2017: Camera ready copies due
09-10 Oct 2017: Workshop in Raleigh
Paper Submissions

We invite two kinds of paper submissions:

  1. A 1 to 4 page position statement describing an idea, research question, or work in progress related to the design, teaching, or study of blocks programming environments.
  2. A full paper (4 to 8 pages, including references) describing previously unpublished results involving the design, study, or pedagogy of blocks programming environments.

For either kind of paper, an abstract must be submitted to the Easy Chair Blocks and Beyond workshop submission site by the end of 19 Jul 2017.

Completed papers must be submitted as PDF files to the Easy Chair Blocks and Beyond workshop submission site by the end of 26 Jul 2017. Use an IEEE Conference template to format your submission.

Submitted paper abstracts and PDFs can be updated at any time through the end of day on 26 Jul 2017 (anytime on Earth). Authors are encouraged to submit drafts that can be updated until the 26 Jul deadline. Drafts should be indicated by putting Draft: at the beginning of the title in the paper.

As with the Proceedings of the First Blocks and Beyond Workshop, we plan to publish the proceedings of the Second Workshop with the IEEE.

Some expected differences from the 1st workshop:

Submissions are not anonymous, so do not anonymize your papers.

Demos and Posters

All workshop participants (whether or not they have an accepted position statement or full paper) are encouraged to present a demo and/or poster of their work during the workshop. More details on signing up for a demo/poster presentation will be announced soon.

Call for Participation

Scope and Goals

Blocks programming environments represent program syntax trees as compositions of visual blocks. They are an increasingly popular way to introduce programming and computational thinking; tens of millions of people have used tools like Scratch, Blockly, App Inventor, Snap!, Pencil Code, Alice/Looking Glass, AgentSheets/AgentCubes, and's curricula. But blocks programming is not just for beginners; environments like GP and domain-specific blocks languages are targeted at hobbyists, scientists. and other casual programmers.

Capitalizing on the energy and enthusiasm from the 1st Blocks and Beyond Workshop in Atlanta in 2015, this workshop aims to continue studying the usability, effectiveness, and generalizability of affordances of these environments and their associated pedagogies. The workshop will bring together educators and researchers with experience in blocks languages, as well as members of the broader VL/HCC community who wish to examine this area more deeply. We seek participants with diverse expertise, including, but not limited to: design of programming environments, instruction with these environments, the learning sciences, data analytics, usability, and more.

The workshop will be a generative discussion that sets the stage for future work and collaboration. It will include participant presentations and demonstrations that frame the discussion, followed by reflection on the state of the field and smaller working-group discussion and brainstorming sessions.

Suggested Topics for Discussion